White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest had a subtle suggestion Tuesday for Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina, who has refused to concede defeat despite trailing in his reelection bid by nearly 6,300 votes: Act “with grace and dignity.”
Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is ahead in the vote count, and state Democrats have called on McCrory to concede, but the governor says he wants to ensure that every legal vote is counted from the balloting two weeks ago. If the final margin is under 10,000 votes, McCrory is entitled to a recount, upon his request. He asked for just that on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a conservative think tank in Raleigh, the Civitas Institute, filed a lawsuit disputing some of the ballots.
During his daily press briefing, Earnest was asked for his reaction to the North Carolina stalemate.
“I mean, this is something that I’ll let the vote counters decide,” Earnest said. “I think the one thing that I can say is that the way that Secretary (Hillary) Clinton and Senator (Tim) Kaine have handled their election loss should serve as an example for candidates on both sides of the aisle.”
“They have handled their loss with grace and dignity,” Earnest said. “They have not backed down from the arguments that they made that actually resulted in them getting more votes than their opponent in the election.”
“But they knew the rules in advance, and they have set a very high standard that other – that other candidates should strive to live up to.”
McCrory’s campaign did not respond to Earnest’s comments, but pointed to McCrory’s letter to the state Board of Elections. Citing “serious concerns of potential voter fraud,” it said that a recount is “one way the people of North Carolina can have confidence in the results, process and system.”